New Guatemalan Assembly turns its back on the military
Members of Guatemala's newly elected Constituent Assembly decided to swear themselves in Wednesday as a symbol of independence from the military government. The 88-member Assembly, elected July 1 in one of the cleanest elections in the country's history, is responsible for writing a new constitution - Guatemala's fourth this century - intended to lead the country to civilian rule. Besides the constitution, the Assembly will issue a new civil rights charter and set a date for presidential and congressional elections sometime next year.
Guatemala has been dominated by a succession of military governments since a CIA-backed coup in 1954 ousted civilian President Jacobo Arbenz, who was considered too leftist.